Gomes, Vaconcelos lead No. 5 Cougars to WCC victory over Pacific
PROVO, Utah – Two first half goals from BYU's Nadia Gomes and Michele Murphy Vasconcelos were all the No. 5-ranked Cougars needed to defeat Pacific 2-0 Saturday night in a WCC match played at South Field.
"I thought we played really well and I liked the way we came out tonight," BYU head coach Jennifer Rookwood said. "Our tactics were really solid. We're playing really well and creating opportunities, we just have to start rewarding ourselves more."
Gomes started the scoring for the Cougars (12-1-1, 4-0-0 WCC) in the sixth minute before teammate Vasconcelos added a second score in the 24th minute. Gomes' goal, her team-leading fifth on the year, was the quickest opening goal of the season for the Cougars coming only five minutes and sixteen seconds after the opening kickoff.
After a steal by Vasconcelos, BYU's Elena Medeiros threaded a pass through the Tiger defense to find teammate Madie Lyons who passed it on to Gomes inside the box. Once in control of the ball, Gomes held off the defender, faking left before moving right to fire a low shot that found its way past the goalkeeper and into the bottom left corner of the net.
Eighteen minutes later, Vasconcelos found the net for her third goal of the year, after the Tigers (2-10-1, 1-4-0 WCC) failed to clear on a cross from BYU's Sarah Chambers Gardner. Gardner's cross was knocked down by goaltender Lena Perry and bounced off several Tiger defenders before Vasconcelos knocked the ball over the reach of Perry and into the net to give the Cougars a 2-0 lead.
In the 27th minute, Vasconcelos nearly added a second goal with a shot that bounced off the crossbar off a pass from teammate Bizzy Phillips. Vasconcelos finished the night with four shots in 68 minutes of play.
The BYU offense was relentless in the first half, tallying 20 shots with seven shots on goal coming from 11 different players. The defense was equally impressive, with the Cougars only allowing two shots on goal in the first 45 minutes of play.
Pacific had its best scoring chance of the first half when forward Sandra Padilla broke through the Cougar defensive line and tried to lob a shot over a backpedalling Rachel Boaz. Boaz knocked the shot away to her right to keep the shutout. Boaz finished the night with two saves to record her 10th combined shutout on the season giving the Cougars their eighth straight shutout at home. With one more home shutout BYU will tie the program record at nine.
Despite no scoring in the second half, the Cougars kept up the offensive pressure with 14 additional shots. Lyons led the Cougars with five total shots and an assist on the night, while Marissa Nimmer Linehan and Gomes each recorded four shots.
Coming off the bench for the Cougars, freshman Brianna Hatch recorded three shots, while junior Camille Green Heath and freshman Madie Siddoway had two shots each. Sophomore Hannah Clark also played 14 minutes in relief at goaltender to finish the shutout for the Cougars.
The win extends both the Cougars' home win streak and home conference win streak to 14 games.
BYU's next match will be against San Francisco in another WCC matchup Thursday Oct. 22 at 7:00 p.m. PDT. The game will be broadcast on TheW.tv and can be heard on the Cougars IMG Sports Network, ESPN 960 AM, BYU Radio and Sirius XM 143.
The Cougars took the field for the first time of the 2023 season Saturday night for the annual Blue vs White game.…